“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15: 13 (KJ).
I was moved to tears this morning by the story on the BBC television news about the Brownlee brothers’ dramatic end to the World Triathlon Series.
Competitors in sport, the pair, from Yorkshire, were seen as brothers in arms as the world watched Alistair help his younger sibling over the finish line in Mexico.
Jonny, 26, had been leading the race and would have gained the world title if he had crossed the line first, but that honour was drained from him as he began to show signs of heat sickness in the tropical conditions in Cozumel.
Just as he looked on the verge of collapse and complete defeat, his 28-year-old older brother stopped to support Jonny, pushing him over the finish line. As a result, Jonny took second place in the race behind Henri Schoeman of South Africa, who had overtaken both brothers during the drama and Maria Mola of Spain (who came fifth in the race) claimed the overall victor’s title for the series.
This selfless act is a shining example of brotherly love at work as Alistair, who would have won the race if he hadn’t stopped, came third. He gave up chance of being first for his brother, who collapsed the moment he crossed the line and need hospital treatment.
We had all watched their boyish banter just weeks earlier in the Rio Games when Alistair became the first athlete to win successive Olympic triathlon titles. At the time, he had jested that Jonny, who won the Olympic silver medal, had often beaten him in practices (in London 2012 he took bronze).
He could have so easily left his brother struggling in Mexico and the sport headlines would have been telling a different story. I don’t know if the Brownlee brothers are Christians or not, but Alistair didn’t seem to think twice about putting his bother first and helping him succeed.
I only hope that I could show such love to others and that my three boys may be as selfless to their siblings!
Check out the BBC stories: The Brownlee’s story in Mexico
The Brownlees’ Olympic success story in the Rio Games 2016